A bill that backers claimed would help close the pay gap between men and women failed to move out of the Senate today, after a vote to break a filibuster failed.
The vote to end the filibuster was short of the 60 needed votes, with 52 voting to move towards actual debate on the bill and 47 voting against. No Republicans supported the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., voted against the bill in a procedural move that allows him to bring the bill up again.
The bill would have put the burden on employers to prove that a difference in pay between men and women was anything other than the result of gender, would forbid retaliation against employees who share salary information, boost Labor Department training initiatives, and provide grants for programs to help women negotiate better pay.
The Democrats, who were using this bill and the vote as a wedge issue to differentiate themselves from Republicans, predictably struck back after the vote. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said “It’s pretty evident that the GOP agenda is focused on rolling back the clock on women.” President Barack Obama released a statement noting his disappointment on the vote after it had occurred, and female House and Senate members who supported the bill convened a press conference after the vote to attack Republicans.
Republicans opposed the bill because they said it was an example of excessive government regulation and that it could lead to costly pay discrimination lawsuits.
For more on this story, check out this Politico post.
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
Want to share your own views on money, politics and the 2012 elections? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might reprint your views in our InvestorPolitics blog! Please include your name, city and state of residence. All letters submitted to this address will be considered for publication.